Langston Hughes Middle School Expansion Project Approved

by Fatimah Waseem December 19, 2017 at 1:30 pm 10 Comments

Langston Hughes Middle School (11401 Ridge Heights Road) could get some relief soon as a plan by the Fairfax County School Board to renovate and expand the building was approved by the Reston Planning and Zoning Committee last night.

In an unanimous vote, the committee approved the plan, which includes a new two-story addition with an elevator at the front of the building, an updated hall of nations that cuts through the building’s center, a large  lecture hall, a new roof, an expanded cafeteria, an upgraded art room and an outdoor courtyard.

Currently, the one-story building has a gross floor area of roughly 132,000 square feet and eight temporary classrooms that will be removed if the project receives its final approval from the county. A public hearing on the project is set for Jan. 10 at 7:30 p.m. The county’s planning and zoning staff have not yet released a technical report on the plan.

The building is operating at 115 percent of its capacity for middle schools, according to current capacity utilization rates, which are calculated based on 2014 and 2015 attendance rates. By 2022, capacity utilization should dip to 80 percent, which is considered a surplus in capacity by the county.

By referendum, voters approved to allocate dollars for the project, which is expected to total roughly $41.7 million in construction-related costs.

Rendering via Hughes and Group Architects. More photos are available online.

  • Arielle in NoVA

    Looks wonderfully airy. Why was South Lakes – right next door to Hughes – not renovated in similar fashion?

    • Tom Wyland

      South Lakes High School is currently adding a new wing to eliminate a parking lot full of trailers. It was renovated and actually under-enrolled about, what, 10 years ago?

      • OneReally

        It was under-enrolled until redistricting of Fox Mill and portions of Floris happened.

        Now they can’t renovate fast enough to keep up.

      • Arielle in NoVA

        I didn’t say South Lakes wasn’t renovated. I’m over there often and know it’s been updated and is being expanded right now. What I asked was why they didn’t make it nice and airy like the plans for Hughes show Hughes will be (and, frankly, like the plans for Herndon High show HHS will be).

  • Greg

    Why is is being expanded, at a great cost of almost $42 million, if it will be in surplus capacity in a few years?

  • FLEABttn

    Shouldn’t the RestonNow regulars who *constantly* complain about how crowded the schools are going to be with all the housing being built in Reston be celebrating this?

    • Mike M

      Your simplicity is troubling. I’ll assume you realize that expanding the Middle School does not accommodate the growth in housing. There would have to be widespread expansion of all the schools, roads, and public safety, and other infrastructure to do that job. That would be very expensive and it either comes out of higher taxes or somewhere else in the budget, say public safety. The beneficiaries of the development are not really paying in for the investment on the scale necessary to meaningfully contribute. Of course there are other management tools that could brought to bear. But for some odd reason our Supes don’t go there well or not at all. Here are a few:
      1) Redistrict the schools
      2) Make the developers pay in meaningfully up front.
      3) Don’t approve redevelopment

      So, to answer your question, . . . No. And I even told you why.

      Any questions?

      • Tom H

        Going anywhere for the holidays?

        • Mike M

          No, Tom. Staying home with my rifles in anticipation of a bump stock under the tree. You?

          • Tom H

            Nestling in, family visiting, good food, wine, hot chocolate… A couple days will be in PA for family visit.


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